IOM Greece aims to improve the living conditions of migrant and refugee communities in the country through a wide range of activities and is working towards finding sustainable solutions for these vulnerable populations. Special care and attention will be provided to the most vulnerable groups, including unaccompanied migrant children. Planned activities in 2020 include accommodation support, capacity building of local actors, protection, legal counselling, psychosocial support, integration, interpretation services, transportation, access to education and non-formal education services, population mapping, community participation, care and maintenance, and provision of non-food items (NFIs).
Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, with a particular focus on families and children, as well as unaccompanied migrant children and other vulnerable groups.
The continuous migratory flows in Greece since the start of the Mediterranean crisis have resulted in an exponential increase of the asylum-seeking and refugee population residing in the country and in need of basic and specialized services, including shelter, medical care and legal assistance, as per the national and EU provisions. During 2019, and particularly since the summer months, Greece faced a sudden increase in flows both from sea and land borders, reaching over 64,200 new arrivals to date. Accordingly, approximately 35,500 migrants remain currently stranded in the reception and identification centres on the islands while awaiting their transfer to accommodation structures in mainland Greece.
To address these issues, IOM plans to carry out the following activities:
- Enhanced Site Management Support (SMS/CCCM) through the comprehensive streamlining and harmonization of procedures and the provision of technical assistance to Government counterparts.
- Improved shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions through care and maintenance of the reception and accommodation facilities, ensuring access to safe water, coverage of utilities, repairing of damaged facilities, solid waste management, garbage collection and disposal, maintenance of communal facilities and access to the internet.
- Improved daily living conditions through the provision of basic needs/supplies (such as food baskets and welcome kits (WKs) containing basic non-food items, transportation from remote sites to city centres).
- Strengthening of AAP through community engagement activities (such as participation/representation in community meetings and in community-based events).
The reception and integration centres are severely overpopulated, reaching approximately 550 per cent of their actual capacity, which raises high concerns about the well-being of that group, a large part of which are vulnerable (e.g. unaccompanied migrant children (UMC), severe medical/mental health cases, gender-based violence (GBV) survivors, and so on). Such concerns are also heightened by the limited outflows from the country, resulting from the suspension of legal pathways (such as the EU Relocation scheme), the slow processing of asylum cases, and the low re-admissions to Turkey under the EU-Turkey Statement.
To address these issues, IOM plans to carry out the following activities:
- Improved identification of needs and responding to vulnerabilities through case management of vulnerable cases, including child protection/UMC, trafficking in persons and GBV (such as mental health and psychosocial support, sexual reproductive health, legal support, legal counselling);
- Capacity building of Greek authorities through technical assistance in key areas and positions (for example interpretation related to public services such as hospitals, medical centres, on-site state medical actor, RIS on-site representatives, TAX office, citizens’ service centres, strategic planning coordination and implementation; active and sufficient operational management and decision-making both at central but also field level);
- Improved access to services and socio-economic benefits (such as health, education) through interpretation, accompaniment and establishment of open communication channels;
- Enhancement of beneficiaries skills and knowledge through non-formal education;
- Increased potential for integration within host communities through the acquisition of new skills (such as language and other soft skills);
- Enhancement of social cohesion through improved communication with local communities and authorities.
Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention
Beneficiaries of international protection, recognized as such after 1 January 2017 and residing in Reception and Identification Centers (RICs), ESTIA apartments, accommodation centres and emergency accommodation facilities. In addition, this target group also includes beneficiaries of international protection residing in shelters for SGBV survivors.
Emergency relief measures in the country have largely focused on improving reception standards and protection services for asylum seekers, including for vulnerable groups. However, given the number of beneficiaries regularly entering and residing at present in Greece, there is a need to reinforce the current accommodation capacity of the Greek accommodation system, alongside strengthening mechanisms that will regulate the exiting of different categories of migrants and refugees from reception schemes into more permanent accommodation solutions in accordance with their legal status and in line with relevant EU regulations.
To provide durable solutions, IOM targets beneficiaries of international protection, recognized as such after 1 January 2017 and residing in Reception and Identification Centers (RICs), ESTIA apartments, accommodation centres and emergency accommodation facilities. In addition, this target group also includes beneficiaries of international protection residing in shelters for SGBV survivors.
In close collaboration with national authorities and other experienced partners, IOM aims at promoting the integration of beneficiaries of international protection currently residing in temporary accommodation schemes into the Greek society, through the following components:
- Conducting Integration Courses within Integration Learning Centers set-up across Greece. Each course cycle lasts for 6 months and consists of modules on Greek language learning, cultural orientation, job readiness and life skills.
- Supporting beneficiaries towards independent accommodation in apartments rented in their name, by providing contributions to rental and move-in costs and communicating with apartment owners.
- Provision of individual employability and job readiness support, including through job counselling, access to job-related certifications and networking with private employers.
- Regular monitoring and assessment of the integration progress of the beneficiaries to ensure that they will be in a position to confidently navigate through Greek public service providers once they start living independently in Greece.
- Organizing sensitization workshops, activities and events and the production of a nationwide media campaign to create dialogue opportunities between migrants and their host communities, highlighting the value of the integration of migrants into Greek society.
Figures are as of 31 December 2019. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.